Trends, Buzz and New Ideas: Thoughts on ISTE 2014

What presentations and/or trends were you most surprised by today?

“I can say what really struck my mind is…the mobile learning. The sheer amount of people who were really interested in mobile learning and BYOT and BOYD was astounding. The Google playground was not that packed, so I think that says something about mobile technology and education.” Cat Flippen, ISTE Emerging Leader 2014

“I feel like, Microsoft is making a push to do something different and I’m a little surprised by that. I was surprised to hear they have a new tool, as I didn’t think they were moving in a direction that is something we all expect from technology tools – web-based, in the cloud, easy to use, accessible to everyone.” Kristin Daniels, Educational Technology Consultant at TIES

“I am most surprised by the number of companies that are actually tuned into Common Core. We’ve been looking at Common Core at Forest Hills but we haven’t been doing it for that long. I know a lot of schools are starting to really, really look at it but they are 100 percent tuned into Common Core here, which is really fascinating for me.” Kris Schrotenboer, Learning Consultant at Forest Hills Public Schools

“There is such an emphasis on networking with colleagues and finding the support and ways to collaborate together. I think this is telling of the education system. For several years, so much was being forced onto staff, but now it feels like a shift is occurring in the way we work together. Most people I talked with are committed to ensuring we are working together, and it would seem like opening those doors to become more global.” Doreen Barnes, Technology Coordinator at Forest Hills Public Schools

Did you learn anything that you’re particularly eager to try in your own classroom?

“I actually am thinking a lot about how I’m doing gamification, more along the lines of how I can take that into a mobile context or even use mobile to blend it… Also, I’m kind of going out of classroom here into teaching learning and again the mobileness of teaching learning. How can you get teachers to go on tablets and onto phones and make their learning 24/7 too?” Cat Flippen, ISTE Emerging Leader 2014

“I’m still noticing the move towards personalization – tools to help kids understand concepts not necessarily the way everyone else understands it. So active learning strategies – there are a lot of really cool tools right now in the classroom where you can get the students learning and engaged in deeper critical thinking questions.” Kristin Daniels, Educational Technology Consultant at TIES

“I am really excited about the new textbooks that are coming out because they are interactive textbooks, which I think is really great for kids. So to take that to the next step, which is the digital learning, is going to be huge for me in my classroom. Kids are actually going to be able to point and click.” Kris Schrotenboer, Learning Consultant at Forest Hills Public Schools

“At the district level, I am most interested in looking at Google Classroom. It is providing a "transparent" layer for teachers who may be overwhelmed by some of the sharing properties of Google Documents. I also think there continues to be a HUGE need to increase the amount of video creation in classrooms. We continue to need to provide easy, manageable solutions for teachers to use and allow students to use in classrooms.” Doreen Barnes, Technology Coordinator at Forest Hills Public Schools

What was the majority of the ISTE “buzz” about? Was it a topic that you see becoming particularly popular in the near future?

People do like to talk about game-based learning but they talk about it wrong. It’s at the very surface level still and I understand that the horizon report said it is 3-5 years out, but they’ve been saying that for several years. They see it more as a surface level like here’s a math game but not really going into the whys and the correct design and what-not.” Cat Flippen, ISTE Emerging Leader 2014

I am happily surprised [by the conversation around professional development.] Last year, there were definitely people into it. It not only affects every day classroom teachers that are interested because it’s their learning, but also the people who are in charge of their PD – so I think there’s a buzz about it, and people are realizing that – when you start in the classroom you think about the kids, but when you back out a little bit teachers realize that they deserve the same personalized treatment so they’re starting to pipe up about that which is really awesome.” Kristin Daniels, Educational Technology Consultant at TIES

“As I walk around here and I listen, of course I’ve been really heavily immersed in all of the video stuff this weekend and so for me a majority of the buzz has been around how to get kids more digitally involved in the classroom and I think that that’s pretty much across the board.” Kris Schrotenboer, Learning Consultant at Forest Hills Public Schools

“I am frequent believer in having students as part of professional learning I am THRILLED to see students [at ISTE.] This is so important for teachers who truly care about learning....our students can teach us so much!” Doreen Barnes, Technology Coordinator at Forest Hills Public Schools

“Authentic assessment was a big one, which is where you give projects to students to demonstrate their knowledge, instead of doing recall – the traditional recall of formative assessment through multiple choices. There’s a shift in education where we’re focusing on student products and student creation so I guess student creation and student relationships was a big theme from the conference. Knowing your kids and offering them what they need – being able to offer tomorrow’s education instead of what has been considered traditional. Teaching from the heart, and not the mind.” Amanda Fox, Film and Broadcasting Instructor, The STEM Academy at Bartlett